If the Left had its way, President Obama would promptly rescind the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military and apply it to govern the conduct of another demographic — Christians.
Or at least that is the impression you’re left with following some recent events. This week, GQ magazine published a hit piece on former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Among other supposedly evil acts, Rumsfeld was called out for sending top secret briefings on Iraq and national security to President Bush that included Bible verses.
The Left has seized upon this revelation as yet more proof that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. were on a religious crusade in the Middle East. It’s curious how the Left interprets Bible quotes written on a few Pentagon memos as evidence that the Bush administration’s war in Iraq was a faith-based initiative but simultaneously is at a loss to explain what would motivate radical Muslims to attack America, even as our enemies invariably claim to be acting in the name of Allah.
Also this week, military sources confirmed that Bibles sent to American troops in Afghanistan, intended as gifts that soldiers could give to the Afghan people, have been confiscated and destroyed. The Bibles, published in Pashtu and Dari, the predominant Afghan languages, were sent by an American charity. A Defense Department spokesman said that if the Bibles “did get out, it could be perceived by Afghans that the U.S. government or the U.S. military was trying to convert Muslims.”
The Pentagon also stated that the Bibles violated military regulations that prohibit proselytizing and could endanger the lives of our forces in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation. It is an understatement to say that Afghanistan is hostile to Christianity. You may remember that in 2006, Abdul Rahman, an Afghan who converted from Islam to Christianity, barely escaped the country with his life.
But the Bibles sent to Afghanistan were reportedly burned. It is a shame that the Christian holy book gets such shabby treatment, especially considering the extraordinary lengths to which our military has been ordered to go so as not to “defile” the Koran.
At Gitmo our soldiers are required to use two hands and to wear gloves when handling that book in order not to offend Muslims. Of course, how Korans are handled at Gitmo is an issue only because the American military is nice enough to distribute them — along with prayer rugs, special Muslim meals, prayer beads and more — to every terrorist who gets sent there. It is not too much to ask that orders be issued so that Bibles are handled with as much respect as Korans.
This Bible blunder pales in comparison to the scandalous contents of books sent all over the world by Muslim governments and interest groups. Congressman Frank Wolf has worked tirelessly to get the State Department to investigate controversial textbooks used at two Islamic schools in Northern Virginia. Some of these books have “intolerant” and “shocking” material, including anti-Semitic and anti-Christian material, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Meanwhile, Islamic Interest groups with ties to terrorist entities are given free rein to push their radical agenda. As I have noted elsewhere, Muslims groups funded by the Saudi government pressure American book publishers to portray Islam in a favorable light. The founder of the Council on Islamic Education has even characterized his work as a “bloodless revolution…inside American junior high and high school classrooms.”
The United States’ sometimes over-the-top accommodation of minority religions stands in stark contrast to authentic violations of religious liberty that are a fact of life throughout the Muslim world. When the State Department released its annual list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom last month, five of the eight countries named “the worst of the worst” are Islamic states or have Muslim majorities, or both.
And much of the religious persecution in Muslim countries is state-sanctioned. Converts like Mr. Rahman are compelled to flee their home countries or are forced into hiding or risk death or imprisonment. Even private worship of non Islamic religions is forbidden in many Muslim countries. And more and more Christian women in the Middle East are being raped by Muslim men and then forced to “convert” to Islam, all while the state looks the other way.
In Pakistan this week the Taliban focused its assaults on a known Christian part of Karachi. Christian pastor Salim Sadiq of Holy Spirit Church told Christian Today that Christians were being threatened with death if they do not convert to Islam. “Christians have no voice here,” Sadiq told reporters. “We have been suffering for ages like thus under the staunch Muslim militants who rape our daughters, burn our churches and raze down our homes.”
While I agree that American military personnel need to be sensitive when operating in Muslim countries, all of the American self-flagellation over Bible quotes written on Pentagon memos and Bibles sent to Afghanistan must end. What are we afraid of? That someone may discover that the United States is a predominantly Christian country and that Judeo-Christian values motivate many of our soldiers to put their lives on the line fighting in part for other people’s freedom abroad?
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence holds that our rights come from our “Creator.” Perhaps we should burn that document too.